By: Mohamed Abu Conteh
The Head Coach of the Senior National team John Edward Keister has on 14th March announced his 25-man squad for the doubleheader against Sao Tome Precipe in the 2023 AFCON qualifiers at the Agadir Stadium in Morocco.
John Edward Keister said before coming out with the final list the Technical team sat down and looks at the different situations in the Senior National team Leone Stars as they brace up for the all-important matches for Sierra Leone.
“We have brought in players that will give us that result going into these two crucial matches.”
John Keister said “again it could be recalled when they were giving the national team Job, they were there talking about the transition around the Senior National team, and that the team has gone past that now with regards to all the matches they have played in the last three or four months, both Friendlies and qualifiers, as a Technical team they can now state that yes they have got the players that can help when going into these two matches.
He affirmed that as a technical team, they want to get players that can go out there and fight for Sierra Leone, noting that they want players that can come in and allow going out there and give a good fight.
He further that what Sierra Leonean want to see is for the team to go out and had a good fight and get the results, he added that they want to set a precedent around the National team; as they are to go out there and had a good fight whichever way to get the results, this time around is about results and there are no two ways about it.
John Keister further that as a technical team, they have sat down and looked at the past eight matches played in both Friendlies and qualifiers, what has been used, and what they have conceded in terms of goals in those matches and have now agreed to change the approach of play and all the players in the 25 man squad are called up base on the approach they want to use, noting they have brought players that are active and can do the Job.
He further that, again they have some players who are not going to be available for these qualifiers some due to injuries and some personal reasons;
1. Issa Kallon who is playing his professional Football in China’s Super League is ruled out due to injuries and he still wants to recover which is why he is not in the squads,
2. Alex Bangura a Sierra Leonean player playing his Professional Football in the Dutch league pull out due to personal reasons, but the technical team has now decided to get new players who can get the job done and put back the nation on track in the qualifications.
While the Deputy Secretary General, Mohamed Benson Bawoh said in terms of administrative preparations the Sierra Leone Football Association has put all things in place and has forwarded the budget for the team to be used and all players that are to be invited have got their tickets and the venue for both home and away is in Morocco the City of Agadir Stadium will have to host Sierra Leone home match on the 22nd of March and brace up for the returned leg on 26th March.
He further that there are plans for Leone Stars to host their next matches after these qualifiers at the newly built South Arena Stadium in the City of BO the Southern Province of Sierra Leone.
The Leone Stars team is expected to depart on the 19th of March to Morocco and prepared for match day.